Tuesday, 1865 February 14, Petersburg, Virginia: Two Valentines from the Petersburg Front

[Valentine letters and poems to Virginia sisters Barbara and Rebecca Hedrick from an anonymous Confederate soldier in Army of Northern Virginia.]

Letter 1 of 2: “My mind is to marry and never to part . . .”

Camp near Petersburg, Va.
Feb. the 14th 1865
Miss Barbara this will inform
you that I am still in the land
with the living and doing well
hoping you are blest with all the
comforts needful to make you happy.
I have no news to interest you with.
I will send you a present to
let you know I am ever mindful
of you believing you are the
same to me. [As] it is raining and
cold I will desist for the present
leaving my name blank for you to
guess for. So no more at present but
remain as ever yours till death. good
bye till I see you.

Oh Barbara, Oh Barbara would you think it unkind
For me to address you and tell you my mind
My mind is to marry and never to part
The first time I saw you, you wounded my heart.

Letter 2 of 2: “When this you see remember me . . .”

Camp near Petersburg, Va.
Feb. the 14th 1865
Miss Rebecca this will inform
you that I am well and as gay
as a lark hoping you may get
this in due time and it may
find you quite lively. I have
nothing in the way of news to
interest you with. I merely write to
you and Send you this present
as a token of mutual friendship
hoping that such exists between
us and that you will keep it
until I come and then I will
tell you all about it for a
puzzle. I will leave my name
blank and see if you will
have it guessed by the time I get
there. I remain as ever yours

When this you see remember me
Though many miles apart we be
For I will ever think of you
And hope our days apart are few.

[Editor: The reverse of both letters have nearly identical hand-colored drawings of pairs of turtle doves, intertwined hearts, and vases of flowers; in Barbara’s letter “Army of Northern Virginia” is surrounded by flowers. The Hedrick family lived on a farm near Cross Keys, Rockingham County, Virginia; according to the 1860 U. S. Census it included Barbara A., age 19, and Sarah R. [Rebecca?], age 15; fifteen years after the war (1880) both were still unmarried and living with their parents in Rockingham County. Apparently the soldier did not marry either Hedrick sister; perhaps he did not survive the war.]

MSS 38-665

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